Thanks to NetGalley and Disney-Hyperion for providing an eARC in exchange for an honest review.
Release Date: November 10th, 2020
Synopsis: Happily ever after is only the beginning as Belle takes on the responsibility of becoming queen and learns to balance duty, love, and sacrifice, all while navigating dark political intrigue—and a touch of magic.
It’s 1789 and France is on the brink of revolution. Belle has finally broken the Enchantress’s curse, restoring the Beast to his human form and bringing life back to their castle in the province of Aveyon. But in Paris, the fires of change are burning, and it’s only a matter of time before the rebellion arrives on their doorstep.
Not so very long ago, Belle dreamed of leaving her provincial home for a life of adventure. But now she finds herself living in a palace, torn between her past as a commoner, and her future as royalty. While Belle grapples with her newfound position, there are those who do anything to keep her from power.
When she stumbles upon a magic mirror that holds a dire warning, Belle wants nothing more than to ignore the mysterious voice calling her to accept a crown she never desired. But violent factions of the revolution may already be lurking within her own castle, and doing nothing would endanger everything she hold dear. With the fate of her country, her love, and her life at stake, Belle must decide if she’s ready to embrace her own strength—and the magic that ties her to so many female rulers before her—to become the queen she is meant to be.
Rebel Rose is the first in the Queen’s Council series, an empowering fairytale reimagining of the Disney Princesses—and the real history behind their stories—like you’ve never seen before.
It’s probably not a big surprise to you why Rebel Rose would appeal to me. First, there’s that gorgeous cover, and then of course, the continuation of Belle and the Beast’s (here known as Lio), story. Except for a couple of hiccups, I quite enjoyed it.
Surprisingly, the biggest issue I had was with Belle. For the first half she was almost unrecognizable as the character I’m more familiar with. Instead of the self-assured, intelligent Belle, this one was timid and full of self-doubt. She was also annoyingly unsure of what she should be doing in her new role. She obsesses too much over the title of Queen, and lets that get in the way of truly helping her people. Thankfully, in the latter half of the book, she begins to realize the power she holds if she’ll only accept it.
Lio, is very relatable, suffering from severe PTSD after being the Beast for ten long years. Adding to his torment is trying to ensure that the small kingdom of Aveyon isn’t dragged into the violent, political upheaval that France is devolving into. Unfortunately he’s sent off on a diplomatic mission early in the book which I understand is necessary to the plot, yet I found myself missing him and his interactions with Belle. They definitely bring out the best parts of each other.
The villain’s identity is known from nearly the beginning, yet his motivations are somewhat murky even at the end. As for the secondary characters, old favorites such as Mrs Potts, Chip, Cogsworth, Lumière and LeFou make a welcome return, as well as the mysterious Enchantress, who cast the original curse. I especially enjoyed the scenes with Mrs. Potts, whose sage advice was instrumental in encouraging Belle to embrace her role as Queen.
Overall, Rebel Rose is a wonderful start to the Queen’s Council series. It takes the beloved fairytale, skillfully adds in the backdrop of the beginning of the French Revolution, and introduces a few new characters who mingle perfectly and assist Belle and Lio on their destined path. There aren’t many details on forthcoming books in the series, but I’m looking forward to seeing where this leads.